Information mining isn’t screen-scraping. I know that some people in the room may differ with that statement, but they’re in fact two almost completely different concepts.
In a nutshell, you might state it this way: screen-scraping allows you to get information, where data mining allows you to analyze information. This is a pretty big simplification, so Items elaborate a bit.
The term “screen-scraping” originates from the old mainframe terminal days where people worked on computers with green and black screens containing just text. Screen-scraping was used to draw out characters from the screens so that they could be analyzed. Fast-forwarding to the web entire world of today, screen-scraping now most commonly describes extracting information from web sites.
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Which is, computer programs can “crawl” or “spider” through web sites, pulling out information. People often do this to build such things as comparison shopping engines, archive web pages, or just download text to a spreadsheet so that it can be filtered and analyzed.
Information mining, on the other hand, is defined simply by Wikipedia as the “practice of immediately searching large stores of data for patterns. ” In other words, a person already have the data, and you’re at this point analyzing it to learn useful things about it. Data mining often entails lots of complex algorithms based on record methods. It has nothing to do with the way you got the data in the first place. In information mining you only care about analyzing precisely already there.
The difficulty is that people that don’t know the term “screen-scraping” will try Googling for anything that resembles it. All of us include a number of these terms on our web site to help such folks; for instance , we created pages entitled Textual content Data Mining, Automated Data Selection, Web Site Data Extraction, and even Website Ripper (I suppose “scraping” is sort of like “ripping”). So it presents a bit of a problem-we don’t necessarily want to perpetuate a misconception (i. e., screen-scraping = data mining), but we also have to use terminology that people will certainly actually use.